A tower clock at St Peter's has kept time for Duxford for over two hundred years. Its handsome gilded face was a central point of reference and, long before the age of iPhones and watches, it kept the village on time. But, by 2016, its face had become faded, the mechanism no longer kept time, the hour chimes were silenced long ago and a large yew tree hid the clock from view.
Public clocks are still an important feature of the landscape. Despite personal watches and smartphones, the eye is drawn to them (think Houses of Parliament or Cambridge Guildhall) and it's important to keep them working and looking good.
During the summer of 2017 we launched an appeal to bring Duxford's tower clock back to its former working glory so that it can, once again, be a proud and useful feature of the village centre.
The aim was to raise £8,000 by the time the clocks reverted to GMT in October 2017 - and this was more than achieved with a total of over £11,000 being raised by the village. In addition we received a £1,000 grant from South Cambs Council and, in May 2018 a "sharing heritage" grant of £6,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Essential work began In August 2018 to rebuild the mechanism, restore the hour strike (and fit a night silencer) and realign and restore the clock face. The restored clock is being enhanced with new automatic time adjuster to keep it accurate.
The clock returned to Duxford in November, just in time for the Armistice Centenary on 11th November 2018
A new guide booklet to St Peter's Church marks the occasion and records grateful thanks to everyone who helped to make the restoration possible.
Cumbria Clock Company abseiling the restored clock face into place on the tower
On Saturday 8 September the Norman tower of St Peter's was opened for people to visit the home of the clock and the historic bells. Those who braved the dusty and steep spiral stairs (and the ladder to the roof) had a rare opportunity to see Duxford from a different perspective and marvel at the engineering of the c12th builders who constructed the Norman tower. To round off the day, numerous teddy bears parachuted from the top of the tower to the delight of their owners. Mary Poppins-like, they were blown by the west wind onto the church roof and had to be rescued to go home in time for bed!
On 6th November the Cumbria Clock Company restored the clcok dial to the tower of St Peters, watched by a few hardy Duxford residents on a rather gloomy autumn day. The photos above show the newly re-painted and re-gilded dial waiting in St Peter's and preparations to hoist it back into place on the tower.
On Sunday 11 November 2018 the clock will be re-dedicated as one of Duxford's events to commemorate the end of the Great War - the centenary of the Armistice. Listen out for 11 strikes at the 11th hour in remembrance, and to mark this tremendous community effort to mark the occasion.
In May we heard that our Heritage Lottery Fund "sharing heritage" grant application was sucessful! This means we now have all the funds needed to both conduct the clock's essential repairs and install automatic time adjustment and a night silencer for the hour strike - as well as helping the community to engage with the restoration work as it happens this summer.
38 Saint John's Street, Duxford, Cambridge, CB22 4RD, United Kingdom